Skip to main content

Full text of "The battle of Trenton:"

See other formats

1=^4  ( 





E  241 
.T7  H8 
Copy  1 





SY    3^E33XTH.TSr    ^.   XXOTTCT. 






This  land  is  ours,  and  we  are  free ! 
We  dwell  in  peace  and  calm  security : 
For  this  our  sires  strove  long  and  wearily, 
And  with  their  blood  gained  our  dear  liberty, 

For  when  oppressor's  o'er  the  waves 
Doomed  us  to  die  a  race  of  slaves, 
And  sent  their  fleets  and  armies  here 
To  frighten  men  who  felt  no  fear, 
Our  fathers  saw  the  gathering  storm — 

They  watched  the  clouds, 

But  feared  no  harm. 
Uprising  in  their  might,  they  stood 
To  breast  the  strong  invading  flood, 
And  like  firm  rocks  that  guard  the  shore 
Where  lofty  billows  dash  and  roar, 
Though  most  o'erwhelmed  by  risiDg  woes, 
They  stood  the  storm,  beat  back  their  foes. 


On  Jersey's  soil  that  tempest  broke 

With  thunder's  roar  and  lightning's  stroke. 

The  wasteful  waves  washed  wild  and  high, 

Destructive,  towering  to  the  sky. 

On  Trenton's  plain  that  tide  was  turned — 

On  Princeton's  field  hope's  bright  star  burned ; 

Old  Monmouth's  sands  drank  up  that  flood — 

Destructive,  dark,  and  dyed  with  blood. 

Upon  thy  banks,  majestic  Delaware — 
Now  calm,  now  peaceful,  now  serenely  fair — 
The  crash,  the  carnage,  and  the  cry  of  war 
Burst  on  the  air,  and  rang  from  shore  to  shore. 
Where  by  the  moonlight,  'neath  the  woodland's  shade, 
Now  strolls  the  lover  with  his  bright-eyed  maid  ; 
Where  by  the  roadside,  wandering  from  their  home, 
The  bleating  sheep  run  grazing  as  they  roam — 
Far  different  acts  in  other  days  were  done, 
Far  different  sights  lay  open  to  the  sun. 

For  two  long  years  the  clouds  of  bloody  war 
Had  driven  peace  and  plenty  from  our  shore  ; 
Where  bloomed  the  rose,  and  white  wheat  waved  its 

There  grew  the  thistle  and  the  tare  instead  ; 
Where  stood  the  cottage  on  the  hill's  green  brow, 
(There  's  nothing  left  to  mark  that  cottage  now ;) 


And  he  who  reared  it  for  a  happy  home, 

Was  turned  a  wanderer  on  the  world  to  roam- 

The  Indian  scalping-knife  had  gone 

Through  hamlet  and  through  frontier  town,; 

The  Hessian's  sabre  reeked  with  blood 

From  old  and  young,  the  brave  and  good; 

The  British  bayonet  was  wet 

With  brother's  blood — we  can't  forget — 

The  outcast  tory's  hellish  crew 

Did  what  the  savage  scorned  to  do — 

No  mercy  'shown  to  silvery  hairs, 

To  maiden's  tears,  or  woman's  prayers ; 

The  infant  sleeping  on  its  bed 

Must  die,  because  from  rebel's  bred. 

Our  little  band  had  slowly  fled — 

Half  clothed,  half  disciplined,  half  fed — 

Before  the  exulting  British  foe, 

Marching  with  pomp  and  royal  show  ; 

And  they  who  pledged  their  lives  and  honor 

To  shield  our  cause — protect  our  banner — 

In  that  dark  hour  and  night  of  gloom 

"That  tried  men's  souls,"  feared  for  their  doom. 

Unshaken  in  that  band  was  one — 

The  great  the  glorious  Washington  ; 

He  to  the  God  of  armies  cried, 

"  In  thee  we  trust,  in  thee  confide. 


Jehovah,  stretch  thy  mighty  arm, 

And  shield  our  righteous  cause  from  harm." 

The  Almighty,  from  his  throne  on  high, 

Looked  on  our  land  with  pitying  eye ; 

He  interposed  his  matchless  power, 

And  saved  us  in  that  trying  hour. 


In  Trenton  when  the  sun  was  set, 
The  Hessians  at  their  quarters  met ; 
And  while  the  brilliant  candles  shine, 
They  pass  along  the  sparkling  wine : 
For  Christmas  day  had  come  and  gone, 
The  joyful  hours  were  nearly  flown ; 
With  a  merry  laugh  our  country's  foe 
Enjoy  the  minutes  as  they  flow, 
And  many  a  soldier  sang  with  glee 
Of  blue-eyed  maids  in  Germany. 

On  Pennsylvania's  wintry  shore 

The  chilling  blast  howled  loud  and  sore ; 

When  lulled  the  winds,  there  echoed  then 

The  heavy  tramp  of  armed  men. 

Columbia's  sons  haste  to  the  strife, 

To  strike  for  liberty  and  life. 


George  Washington  was  at  their  head  I 
A  gallant  band,  and  nobly  led ; 
Then  wheeling  down,  rank  pressing  rank, 
They  eager  crowd  the  river's  bank  : 
Dark  Delaware's  wide,  wasteful  wave 
Washed  wild  and  high,  a  watery  grave; 
The  rushing  ice,  with  crash  and  roar, 
Dashed  madly  past  the  stormy  shore : 
'  Quick  to  the  boats  the  soldiers  leap, 
To  breast  the  waves  and  cross  the  deep ; 
They  brave  the  storm  and  blast  of  heaven, 
Dash  through  the  ice  though  madly  driven ; 
Each  sturdy  oar  is  strongly  plied 
To  gain  the  river's  distant  side  ;       » 
The  helmsmen  strive  with  eager  eye 
To  pierce  the  gloom,  and  white  shore  spy ; 
And  soon  they  see  the  snow  clad  banks, 
Soon  reach  the  shore  with  joy  and  thanks. 
Each  soldier  casts  aside  his  oar, 
And  leaps  upon  the  Jersey  shore ; 
Then  wheeling  into  line,  they  go 
Struggling  with  wind  and  pelting  snow. 
They  come  from  hills  and  rivers  far, 
In  freedom's  cause  to  brave  the  war : 
There  's  one  from  "  Susquehanna's  side," 
He's  left  his  home  and  youthful  bride  ; 
And  there  are  men  brave  'mid  the  brave, 
Whose  farms  o'erlook  the  Hudson's  wave, 


And  in  that  band  of  men  so  true 
Is  many  a  gallant  Jersey  blue  ; 
And  Pennsylvania's  sons  are  there, 
And  gallant  men  from  Delaware. 
Brave  old  Virginia's  riflemen 
Come  from  their  homes  and  native  glen ; 
New  England's  sons,  her  boast  and  pride, 
Leaving  their  homes  and  fireside, 
Stood  to  support  Columbia's  war, 
Upon  the  banks  of  Delaware. 
Chilled  with  the  blast  and  wintry  snow — 
Half  naked,  weary,  filled  with  woe — 
But  with  undaunted  hearts  they  stand, 
Impatient — waiting  the  command. 
Then  rang  the  voice  of  Washington — 
11  My  noble  men  !  press  onward  !     On  I" 
Upon  the  word  the  bugle  rings, 
And  forward  every  soldier  springs. 


And  darker  then  the  black  night  grew, 
And  louder  then  the  wild  wind  blew, 
And  faster  fell  the  flakes  of  snow, 
And  higher  still  the  snow  drifts  grow. 


No  rattling  drum  nor  shrieking  fife 

Was  heard  amid  the  tempests  strife. 

The  struggling  horse  and  staggering  men 

Press  on  the  march  with  toil  and  pain, 

Staining  the  snow  with  bloody  feet, 

Battling  the  blast,  the  cold  and  sleet. 

In  Trenton,  sheltered  from  the  storm, 

The  Hessians  slept,  nor  dreamed  of  harm; 

The  sentries  at  the  outposts  placed, 

With  sullen  steps  their  watches  paced ; 

No  watch  dog's  bark  disturbed  the  night, 

No  cock's  shrill  clarion  challenged  fight — 

The  whirlwind's  blast  and  tempest's  moan 

Fell  on  the  sentry's  ear  alone. 

When  suddenly  a  signal  gun 

Told  to  our  men  the  march  was  done, 

And  to  the  sleeping  Hessian  host 

Of  danger  near  and  battle  lost. 

As  angry  bees  protect  their  hive, 

And  from  their  store  the  plunderers  drive, 

So  turned  the  Hessians  out  in  force 

To  check  our  columns  onward  course. 

But  Sullivan  went  thundering  on, 

And  onward  charged  George  Washington  ; 

They  charged  on  men  who  firmly  stood 

Waiting  the  shock,  with  burning  blood ; 

For  they  had  fought  on  foreign  field, 

And  they  were  used  to  conquer,  not  to  yield. 


But  they  were  struggling  with,  the  free — 

Men  who  had  drawn  for  liberty, 

Men  who  had  braved  the  torrents  force, 

Men  who  had  watched  the  whirlwind's  course, 

Men  who  had  laid  the  forest  low, 

Had  fought  and  quelled  the  savage  foe  ; 

Men  who  had  looked  from  mountain  height 

And  seen  their  homes  and  wheat  fields  white, 

Their  cattle  grazing  on  the  plain, 

Then  turned  unto  the  chase  again ; 

And  when  at  evening  they  returned, 

Their  children  gone,  their  cottage  burned, 

Paused  not  to  weep  in  vain,  distressed 

With  sorrow,  weighing  down  their  breast, 

But  to  the  rescue  of  their  young, 

With  manly  hearts  they  nobly  sprung ; 

And  struggling  desperately  alone, 

No  mercy  asked,  no  mercy  shown, 

Amid  the  forest's  gloomy  shade 

Avenged  their  wrongs  with  bloody  blade. 

Kescued  from  harm  and  savage  grasp, 

With  joy  again  their  young  they  clasp. 

In  column  now  these  men  advanced, 

Their  serried  ranks  terrific  glanced, 

Their  gallant  hearts  beat  high  and  fast — 

Upon  that  charge  the  die  was  cast. 

Then  Death  rode  riot  through  the  bloody  street-; 

For  Death  holds  revels  when  stern  warriors  meet. 


Heaps  upon  heaps  the  hireling  Hessians  fall, 

Poor  purchased  private  and  brave  General  Eahl. 

"  Hurrah  !  Hurrah  ! !  Hurrah  !  I !"  our  gallant  soldiers 

11  The  foemen  falter,  flee — it  is  a  rout,  a  rout !" 
Then  forward  pressed  our  fast  prevailing  ranks, 
Drove  in  their  front  and  chased  their  scattered  flanks. 
As  forest  leaves  the  wild  winds  blow, 
As  edding  wheels  the  drifting  snow — 
So  fled  the  Hessian  force  before 
The  onward  course  our  column  bore. 
No  refuge  could  the  foemen  find ; 
Beset  in  front,  pursued  behind, 
They  yield  unto  the  fate  of  war, 
Upon  the  banks  of  Delaware. 
Proud  hour  was  that  for  freedom's  cause, 
Foretelling  peace  and  equal  laws : 
For  Bethlehem's  star  on  Palestine 
On  Christmas  Eve  did  brightly  shine,—- 
The  stars  and  stripes  on  Trenton's  plain 
Gave  freedom  to  the  world  again. 

And  shall  no  column  mark  this  spot  ? 
And  shall  these  heroes  be  forgot  ? — 
No !  while  the  race  of  men  shall  last, 
While  memory  recalls  the  past, 
Although  no  monumental  pile 
May  mark  the  field  for  mile  on  mile, 



The  glory  of  that  day  will  be 

As  lasting  as  eternity. 

Yet  rear  a  monument  of  stone 

Before  the  last,  lone,  lin^crin''-  one, 

Who  shared  the  dangers  of  that  day, 

By  the  stern  reaper  Death  is  called  away. 

Not  that  with  him  the  race  of  heroes  die, 

"  Oh,  no  !"  the  streets  of  Monterey  reply. 

Our  brothers'  blood  as  nobly  now  does  flow, 

Witness  ye  hills,  ye  plains,  ye  vales,  ye  dales  of  Mexico. 

We  fear  not  that  the  memory  of  one  name 

Of  those  who  gave  a  lustre  to  our  country's  fame 

Will  fade.     From  childhood's  lisping  lips  we  hear 

Of  Knox,  Monroe,  and  Stark,  the  mountaineer, 

And  many  names  of  those  who  dared 

Rush  on  the  foe,  when  half  the  land  despaired ; 

And  from  that  field  sent  up  a  victor's  shout, 

When  fled  the  foe  in  hurried  headlong  rout. 

They  well  deserve  our  homage  and  our  praise, 

Those  daring  men  of  dark  and  gloomy  days  ; 

Nations  have  deemed  those  worthy  of  proud 

Who  conquered  in  the  breach-scaled  lofty  battlements. 
These  conquered  famine,  foes,  and  traitor  plot ! 
Build  high  their  column  on  this  hallowed  spot, 
That  here  the  thanks  of  "  millions  yet  to  be  " 
May  rise  a  grateful  tribute  to  their  memory. 


Shall  we  who  dwell  in  peace  and  calm  security, 
For  which  our  sires  strove  long  and  wearily ; 
Whose  bright  swords  saved  us  from  the  chains  of 

slaves — 
Live  sluggard  lives  and  fill  ungrateful  graves  ? 
No  !  Jersey  men  are  brave,  and  honor  mighty  deeds, 
In  every  foremost  rank  of  war  New- Jersey  leads. 
Long  ere  this  nineteenth  century's  onward  course  runs 

Uprear  their  column  with  a  mighty  shout : 
Yes,  found  it  deep,  and  rear  it  t'wards  the  sky, 
That  its  fair  form  may  catch  the  traveler's  eye ; 
And  strangers  ask  with  wonder  all  the  while, 
What  means  this  column — who  built  i5p  this  pile  ? 
Then  with  a  generous  pride  we  well  can  say, 
Here  fought  our  fathers — here  they  gained  the  day  ; 
Our  liberty  was  won  by  those  who  fought  and  bled, 
And  we  their  children  reverence  them  now  dead  ; 
And  in  their  footprints  follow,  follow  true, 
And  rallying  round  our  flag,  the  red,  the  white,  the 

blue — 
No  stripe  obscured — no  single  star  eraced — 
Will  never  see  our  much  loved  soil  disgraced — 
True  to  our  rights — the  people's  sovereignty — 
Freedom  of  conscience,  and  no  bigotry. 
Sons  of  New- Jersey  guard  the  mighty  dead ; 
For  you  they  fought,  for  you  they  freely  bled. 


Their  ashes  now  repose  beneath  your  sod, 
Their  spirits  gone  to  glory  and  to  God. 
"We  have  held  converse  face  to  face 
With  the  last  relics  of  that  noble  race : 
With  rapt  ear  listened,  as  we  heard  them  tell 
Our  nation's  history,  and  have  marked  it  well. 
Those  of  a  future  day  will  only  know 
From  us  the  story  of  their  toil  and  woe, 
Their  valor,  victory,  wisdom,  prudence,  all. 
Plain  as  the  writing  on  Belshazzar's  wall, 
Let  us  inscribe  it  high  on  blocks  of  stone, 
That  men  may  read  not  hear  of  it  alone. 
Let  tyrants  read  it  and  their  thrones  o'erthrow, 
Let  traitors  read  it  and  their  plots  forego ; 
Let  patriots  mark  it — and  their  spirits  long 
Like  them  to  live,  in  marble  and  in  song: 

For  their  great  deeds  will  last  till  endless  days, 
The  statesman's  model  and  the  poet's  praise. 
Long  may  their  valor,  virtue  and  their  truth, 
Inspire  the  bosoms  of  our  generous  youth ; 
To  heed  their  bright  example,  and  revere 
Their  noble  deeds  and  hold  their  memory  dear. 
Then  for  our  country's  future  we  need  dread 
No  sad  mishap,  virtue  by  valor  led 
Will  ever  win.     We  fear  no  monarch's  frown,  God  is 

our  king, 
To  Him  we  bow — to  Him  our  praises  sing. 


Then  let  us  pray  to  heaven  with  one  accord, 
For  Israel's  God,  Jehovah,  is  our  Lord. 
Oh !  God  protect  us,  and  our  country's  cause, 
Our  Constitution  and  our  equal  laws. 


0  011  800  181  3  #